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Kyla’s Movie Review ‘American Hustle’ has equally good performances

AMERICAN HUSTLE (R) - Starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence and Louis C.K. The film mixes fact and fiction with the real life late ‘70s “Abscam” scandal, in which the FBI used a fake Arab sheik to entice Washington politicians to take bribes. The pols are looking for money, the FBI is looking for incriminating video and the con artists they coerce into setting the thing up are looking to stay out of prison. Bale, nearly unrecognizably with a pot belly, a beard and the world’s worst comb-over, stars as Irving Rosenfeld. He operates several dry cleaning businesses, but his real game is getting suckers to pay him to set up loans that never come through. The fees, of course, are nonrefundable. He’s also a devoted father but has grown tired of his wife Rosalyn (Lawrence), so he has taken up with Sydney Prosser (Adams), who dons a British accent and revealing clothes to partner in his scam. They’re caught by FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Cooper), who hatches a scheme where they will help him catch much bigger fish, over the objections of his boss (Louis C.K.). Their target is Camden, N.J., Mayor Carmine Polito (Renner), who is desperate to build hotels and casinos to bring his city back to life, Polito is one of the more interesting characters because he’s hustling, but not for himself. He really wants to do right by his city and is willing to do whatever it takes. The first half of the film has a rambling, unfocused approach as it incorporates flashbacks, voice-over narratives, and other storytelling devices to introduce the characters. At times it’s tough to follow. The film runs a little long, with the strongest scenes occurring toward the end. Although the ensemble dream cast features five Oscar nominees, there are no standout performances; they’re all equally good. RATING: B

ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES (PG-13) - Starring Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Christina Applegate, Meagan Good, Dylan Baker, James Marsden, Greg Kinnear, Kristen Wiig and cameo appearances by too many to list. This is the sequel to the 2004 “Anchorman.” The film begins an unspecified time after the original one, although the gap has to be at least six or seven years. Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) and his wife, Veronica Corningstone (Applegate), are the weekend husband-and-wife anchor team of a national news broadcast. When Ron is fired to pave the way for Veronica’s promotion, their marriage goes under. After spending some time drunk and out-of-work, Ron is targeted by a group making the bold gamble of launching a 24-hour cable news channel. After assembling the old team - reporter Brian Fantana (Rudd), sportscaster Champ Kind (Koechner) and weatherman Brick Tamland (Carell) - Ron heads to New York City, where he uses a new approach to news to fire the station manager, Linda Jackson (Good) and win a feud with hotshot anchor Jack Lime (Marsden). Ferrell and his three main co-stars effectively recapture their personalities from the original film. The jokes are hit-and-miss, with a slightly less impressive batting average this time around. The movie offers a few big, laugh-out-loud moments, but there are also stretches when some of the obvious failed gags are almost painful. RATING: B-

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